There are gorgeous islands on our planet that leave everyone speechless.
There are oceans and seas where a ship finally finds a home.
There are perfect landscapes, pristine beaches, sunsets and cliffs that travellers never want to leave.


And then, there is Santorini.

Imagine sailing towards whitewashed stone homes perched on high cliffs overlooking crystal blue waters, anchoring your yacht at dark-sand beaches, admiring the blue roofs and taking in the enchanting sunsets from the calm of your own boat deck with a chilled glass of wine in hand. Or maybe don't just imagine all of this, but make this dream come true with Nowboat this summer. If this was a beauty contest, the world's famous Greek island would win against all the other participants of this floating catwalk. Santorini is the charming woman everybody falls in love with but nobody can seduce. It’s the first love you will never forget, it’s the heartbreak you will carry with you once you sail away from its shore. This magical, dreamy and enchanting island is a part of the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea. It is officially known as Thira and sits between Athens and Crete and it’s considered one of the most stunning islands in the world. We, at Nowboat, not only agree but are going to show you, step by step, why Santorini should be right on top of your destinations list.

 

The warm people of Santorini  

The total population of Santorini is around 15,550 according to a 2011 census. The island's main source of income comes from agriculture and tourism. In the summer, tourists take over the island and the locals work day and night non-stop. When winter comes, life slows down, many facilities close for the season while some locals move to the mainland. A visit in the spring is a fascinating experience since the island is in complete make-over and preparation mode where Santorini gets a complete repaint (especially the famous blues and the whites) and most shops and restaurants open up to tourists again. 
Most people are of Greek descent and of the Christian religion. Santorini is very famous for its cuisine and here you will find delicious dishes that will surely leave your palate happy and satisfied. 


Places of Santorini

Fira

Santorini’s main town is a cool, exciting, bustling place layered with lots of hotels, cave houses, pools and restaurants right on the caldera edge. A visit to Fira isn't complete without getting lost among the narrow streets full of shops, bars and locandas. Fira spreads north into two beautiful villages: Firostefani (a 15-minute walk from Fira) and Imerovigli (the highest point of the caldera edge, about a half-hour walk from Fira). A path runs through these villages (more info below). 


Oia

This postcard-perfect village is famous for its gorgeous sunsets and is less hectic than Fira - at least before and after sunsets. There are lots of caldera-facing restaurants and bars where you can stop for a meal or a refreshing drink after the hike from Fira to Oia. If you want to beat the crowds, get there in the early morning or late evening.


Beach hopping...

First of all, it is not just about the white beaches in Santorini…there are also dark, red, volcanic sand or pebble beaches on the island making it very hard to choose a favourite. On the south coast, there’s a string of beaches famed for their multi-coloured sand and Red Beach (Kokkini Paralia) is a travellers’ favourite. If you have children, Monolithos is probably the best option since it's a safe heaven that offers plenty of activities like beach volleyball, basketball courts and even a soccer field. Just next to this beach you can also find kitesurfing and watersport facilities. The EU Blue Flag-awarded beach of Agios Georgios (Perivolos) features black sand and crystal clear waters and it's the ideal beach for diving, snorkelling or sunbathing while listening to some summer tunes coming from the beach bars. If your dream scenario is to be away from the crowds and lie on a virgin, unspoilt beach, then you should head to Katharos where after walking down a steep dirt road you will be alone or one of the very few enjoying this incredible paradise. Another stunning place to enjoy by yourself is White Beach (Aspri Paralia), which can only be reached by any of our boat trips in Santorini. Here, you will be swimming in some of the clearest waters of the Mediterranean Sea all while taking in the view of the imposing white cliff.


Take in all the sights hiking the Caldera path

There are two famous hiking routes in Santorini, one is from Períssa to Kamári, past post-eruption ancient Thera and the other is along the caldera edge from Imerovígli to Oía. The best one is probably the walk in and around Fira, which offers spectacular views, especially heading north to Firostefani and Imerovigli. Be aware that these tracks are not always easy and can be rough in some parts.


Pleasures in Santorini 

Ntomatokeftedes, Kopania, Melitinia and delicious wine

Santorini has an outstanding culinary tradition that goes back centuries but it’s still well and alive today. While there, don’t forget to visit the many locandas and try all the traditional dishes that this island is famous for. Start your meal with the delicious Ntomatokeftedes (or tomato fritters), which is made of the unique cherry tomatoes that only grow here and as the main dish, order the yummy Apochti, salted pork loin that is placed in vinegar before being air-dried and covered with a layer of pepper and cinnamon. For the vegetarians, Chlorotyri, a sour yet creamy white cheese made from goat’s milk is an excellent spread on bread. And what’s best than accompanying earthy meals with crisp dry white wine made of assyrtiko grapes? If you want to try more than one wine, there are dozens of local vineyards that host wine tastings often accompanied by incredible scenarios. 


Learn a bit of history

Spending hours sunbathing and relaxing on one of the many wonderful beaches in Santorini or aboard your private charter is surely a great idea and if that’s your representation of a perfect vacation, we surely won’t argue with you. But if you also wish to take a dip in the history, you will be intrigued by the beautiful site of Akrotiri where you will see the ruins of a Minoan city destroyed by the volcanic eruption of 1613 BC. If this leaves you with more questions than answers, then head to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Firá where the Minoan murals might give you a better understanding of the past of this mysterious island.


Santorini isn’t Santorini without a magical sunset

Although the sunset at the Oia Castle offers a stunning view over the caldera, we are pretty sure you won’t be the only one enjoying the show there. You can also admire a spectacular sunset at Fira, Firostefani and Imerovigli. If you want to frame the entire island of Santorini in your picture, then you should head to Faros in Akrotiri, where most likely you won’t have hundreds of other tourists fighting for the best spot. And let’s not forget the best view of them all: from your own yacht or private sunset cruise!


Scuba Diving and getting lost in the legend of Atlantis

Maybe it's because of the ancient history of its ever-changing name, or maybe because of the natural disasters that this island had to endure, but Santorini has an even bigger aura of mystery since it is believed to be the real legendary Atlantis. Whether you are an experienced scuba diver or you've never worn a tank on your back before, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to find out if the legend is true and get lost in its incredible underwater world with a few diving sessions in Santorini.


Get lost in poetry and literature at Atlantis Books

One of the most interesting shops in Santorini, Atlantis Books, is an independent bookshop owned by a group of literate expats. It hosts cultural events throughout the year, including a Super 8 film festival and the Caldera Literary Festival in October.


Take your crew to an active volcano

Many of our operators offer the opportunity to design and tailor your sailing or cruising holiday to your desires and needs. If you wish to go off the beaten track, you should arrange to visit the still-active volcano on Nea Kameni, about two miles away from Oia. Here you can hike, go snorkeling or just chill right in the caldera and pretty much be the only one there.


Do in Santorini

Do as the Greeks and take it easy and go with the flow.
Sit back, put your feet up and admire the stunning views. 
Try all the delicious food that the Santorini's local cuisine has to offer. 
Wear glasses and drink lots of water, the island can get extremely hot in summer!
Join a sunset cruise in Santorini to have a different perspective of the island when the sun goes down
Relax and enjoy a spa treatment at the many wellness options in Santorini


Don’t in Santorini

Don't think the island is just Oia and Fira which are Santorini’s most famous towns for obvious reasons but don't make the mistake to spend your entire time between these two villages. 
Don't over plan and instead let the unexpected lead the way of your time spent in Santorini.
Don't ride a donkey. We know it's one of the main traditions here, but like with elephant riding in Asia, some traditions are best left behind. The donkeys carry tourists up and down steep hills all day long in the hot summer sun, it's not fun for them so opt for the cable car instead. 


Best time to go

Santorini and the rest of the Cyclades are slowly becoming a year-round destination thanks to the efforts of the local tourism board and the government who are trying to spread out the millions of tourists who pack the island in the summer. The truth is that Santorini is at its best in late spring and early autumn when the hills are still green, the sea has warmed up to a nice swimming temperature, but the crowds have yet to flood the streets. Note that later in autumn, many facilities close down, the ferry link is less frequent, but these smaller disadvantages come with the huge prize of almost having the island all to yourself.


Best way to go

Santorini Airport has year-round flight connections with Athens and summertime European connections. If you are planning to book one of our many adventures or boat charters to explore more of Greece, you can fly to Athens and arrange with your porter for a convenient embarking port on the mainland. There is no doubt that the best way to explore and experience Santorini is by boat tours. Only with your own private charter in Santorini, will you be able to stop at all the various beaches and go diving and snorkelling in some hard-to-reach and untouched sites unknown to the crowds. Another advantage of joining one of our sailing tours in Santorini is the possibility to explore all four sides of this mysterious island, without neglecting Santorini’s less-famous sites with their perfect conditions for water sports, scuba diving and less-crowded tavernas.
Let’s not forget the view that only a few can enjoy: if Santorini is stunning from its hilly villages but it’s something truly outstanding from your own floating home on the water.
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